November/December 1988

Pedro Almodóvar interview and Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Gene Hackman interview, Mississippi Burning, midsection on Eighties concert films, The Last Temptation of Christ controversy, Venice Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Clara Bow, Ingmar Bergman

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Willing Sinner
With his mainstream hit, Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Pedro Almodóvar is the jack that’s popped out of Spain’s post-Franco box. Not one but two friendly chats with this director on the verge of International Breakthrough, Spanish cinema’s foremost purveyor of sacrilege, sexual outrage, that sort of thing. Vito Russo captures the essence of Pedro, psycho-socially speaking and Marcia Pally has an idea-driven talk with the Camp Director.

‘Burning’ Sensation
Gene Hackman may be the hardest working man in movies. Beverly Walker’s interview with the star of Alan Parker’s Mississippi Burning finds Popeye Doyle midst his second wind as The Last Angry Sensitive Man. And Gavin Smith reflects on Parker’s film—is it a return to a Stanley Kramer-style civil rights film? Or just 48 HRS? Well, it’s Hollywood with a genre blender.

Midsection: Tunestruck
In the convergence of movies and music a range of musical subjects is emerging. Armond White embraces the new Hollywood musical—the concert film but hums and hahs about U2’s Rattle and Hum. Esteemed rockumentarist D.A. Pennebaker hits the road with Depeche Mode (such nice boys) and explains pop’s union of business and pleasure to Lauren Lowenthal Swift. Ken Spence investigates how Hollywood tamed jazz by jumping on the bandwagon while Marlaine Glicksman likewise elucidates the taming of composer Dmitri Shostakovich by Joe Stalin in Tony Palmer’s Testimony. And there are layers upon lairs for the longhairs in Uncle Ken Russell’s new film. Karen Jaehne reports.

JOURNALS
Papal hostility to The Last Temptation of Christ threatens filmgoers with Death in Venice (The Festival). Our religious war correspondent Harlan Kennedy reports from the frontline where it’s all quiet, and then hops over to the Edinburgh film fest to get a dose of semiotics—hope it ‘s not contagious.

FESTIVAL FALLOUT
Yes, it’s that time of year. We refer, of course, to our annual coverage of the New York Film Festival (26th edition, and alive and kicking). We turned Stephen Harvey and Elliott Stein loose to terminate with extreme prejudice—and one sang and the other didn’t. In a generally northern direction, David Chute (To Kill) singlehandedly comes to praise, not bury Toronto’s 13th Festival of Festivals.

BOOKS: BIO LOGICAL SUREFIRE
A misunderstood hedonist and an exhaustively analyzed ascetic—Clara Bow and Ingmar Bergman—unlikely bedfellows (but a gargoyle can dream) Fabiano Canosa reviews the bio of the ‘It’ girl, and Richard Corliss delves into the introspective Swede’s chary reminiscences.

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